back to article It's 2018 so, of course, climate.news is sold to climate change deniers

In what may be the perfect combination of everything wrong with 2018, the operator of the .news dot-word has sold a batch of premium .news domains to a purveyor of what can be best described as conspiratorial content for cretins. Describing itself as "the global leader in high-quality, new top-level Internet domains," Donuts …

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A fool and his money. Ethics or morals are certainly not going to get in the way of someone taking people's money they are begging to be taken. That's the thing rarely discussed about fake news. Its not the case it exists only to fool people. Some people actively seek it out (and will even pay for it) to comfort them about their own world views.

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"Fake news" pretty much simply means "something in the media that I disagree with" anyway.

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Bollocks!

Fake news is "news" that is unsubstantiated by observation and observable facts. And claims that try to undermine such validated observed news by contradicting it with unobserved and unobservable non-facts. As in comparing evidence based support for vaccination with the anti-vax cobblers based on a bit of faked research coming our of our own Royal Free Hospital because of one dodgy doctor - Wakefield.

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And so began the climate wars..

Fake news is "news" that is unsubstantiated by observation and observable facts. And claims that try to undermine such validated observed news by contradicting it with unobserved and unobservable non-facts.

That is the very essence of the climate debate. Many years ago, Dr James Hansen staged a presentation to US politicians where he showed a simple model predicting global warming based on a set of assumptions. That spawned many other models and predictions, and bitter debate around real vs fake news. Many billions have been spent on global warming mitigation, and many papers published and dissected. Here's one that was prepared earlier-

https://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/full/10.1175/JCLI-D-17-0667.1

Which should be good news, ie it's not as bad as was thought. But will likely be decried as 'fake news' because it's written by well known climate 'deniers'. Which is a very modern challenge. Trump was using the term 'fake news' a lot today, and organisations that may be a tad biased are setting themselves up to be the arbiters of truth.. Or shapers of perception. Anti-vaxxers are 'fake news', a lot of climate stuff is 'fake news'. Challenge is for people to overcome perception bias and decide the truth for themselves.

Meanwhile, companies like this will happily flog subdomains for potentially controversial subjects because they'll generate traffic and ad revenues.

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I was talking about the term as it's commonly used in the US.

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"decried as 'fake news' because it's written by well known climate 'deniers'"

I don't know why you make this claim about the cited article. The abstract seems to discuss the scientific consensus about climate warming (towards a new equilibrium that may be some 1.6 K warmer), as assessed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Maybe the authors ruined their reputation previously, but in the cited work they seem to just summarize reviewed scientific results.

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Re: "decried as 'fake news' because it's written by well known climate 'deniers'"

Maybe the authors ruined their reputation previously, but in the cited work they seem to just summarize reviewed scientific results.

Please read the whole abstract. It is quite clear towards the end that the claim in the article is that the predicted temperature data for sea temperature (a very common input variable into most global warming models) differs from observed. Not surprising. If it differed significantly, the hurricane patterns should have changed significantly and they have not. While we have had a few odd years, there is not enough changes to demonstrate something statistically significant.

As with every research on a very hot topic (remember the fake clonings?) there is some good research and some bottom feeders related to meteorological science. That's now valid for both sides as the amount of money thrown at "no global warming" by the likes of Cox brothers has become roughly comparable to what scientists get as financing for global warming research with a confirmation bias.

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Re: "decried as 'fake news' because it's written by well known climate 'deniers'"

I think you mean Koch, not Cox. Although Brian Cox has made a few quid out of global warming. But funding is often an element of 'fake news', whether it's the Koch brothers, Soros or just Russians. But given the money involved, there is PR and lobbying. Some years ago, Fenton Communications created 'RealClimate' to promote global warming, now there's climate.news. Where there's money, there are agendas and it's up to us to try and figure out the truth. The paper I cited goes towards addressing this comment from the article-

The latest lead article on climate.news? "The 'global warming' hoax: 30 years of failed predictions that never happened."

OK, so it's a bit of a dogwhistle headline, but it's trivially true. Predictions were made based on climate models. Time passed, observations made, along with comparisons. Predictions typically have run hot compared to reality. Understanding why that is is both science and good news. So global warming probably isn't as bad as we thought, and it's likely due to overestimating the effect of CO2. Either that has less warming effect, or there's some negative feedback countering it. Observations don't match predictions though.

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"Fake news is "news" that is unsubstantiated by observation and observable facts. "

To most right thinking people, you are correct, but the reality of the situation today is that "fake news" is whatever the speaker/writer is claiming it is today. Just look at Trumps comments on his interview with The Sun. He rambled on about recording all press interactions and called the story fake news. Well guess what, The Sun also recorded it. Likewise a BBC reported called out Trump for claiming he was at Turnberry the day before the Brexit vote and "called" the result to the accompanying press beforehand. When the BBC reporter called him on that (he was also there at the time, the day after the Brexit vote, not before), Trumps head of communications backed up her bosses comments. The BBC reporter got no further replies after pointing out that the flight passenger records showed Trump arriving in the UK AFTER the Brexit vote.

the TL'DR version, yes, fake news is whatever the speaker/reader disagrees with at the time. It might be different tomorrow.

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No claiming it's fake doesn't make it fake. believing it's fake equally doesn't make it fake. Being fake makes it fake.

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Re: And so began the climate wars..

"where he showed a simple model predicting global warming based on a set of assumptions. "

To put it a bit more precisely, he calculated and described several scenarios of what might happen if CO2 levels kept rising at different rates based on well known science - that CO2 in the atmosphere was increasing due to human activities was well known and CO2 had been known to be a greenhouse gas for over 100 years.

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Re: "decried as 'fake news' because it's written by well known climate 'deniers'"

"Predictions typically have run hot compared to reality. "

Not any more. If you look at say the IPCCs predictions versus the current rate of rise they were extremely conservative.

http://berkeleyearth.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/TimeSeries2017.png

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Re: And so began the climate wars..

To put it a bit more precisely, he calculated and described several scenarios of what might happen if CO2 levels kept rising at different rates based on well known science

Nope, based on assumptions wrt the potential effects of elevated CO2. Which is the crux of the ECS debate, ie if CO2=X then how much warming? Hansen's model is good because it was presented to Congress in 1988. Climate scientists use a 30yr interval to describe climates. So 30 years on from his presentation and testimony, we can see the predictive skill. There's a great discussion of that here from it's 20th anniversary-

https://climateaudit.org/2008/01/16/thoughts-on-hansen-et-al-1988/

Where it clearly diverged from observations. And spawned much more debate denying any divergence, cries of 'fake news' and much bile. But the good thing about Hansen's testimony is it raised awareness and funding for what had been an academic backwater. More grants, new satellites, more data to analyse, reanalyse and refine our understanding of how our world works. At the time of Hansen's prediction, he didn't have that data. We do, and it appears to be showing low CO2 sensitivity, which is arguably good news. Problem is climate stuff is still highly tribal and politicised.

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"No claiming it's fake doesn't make it fake. believing it's fake equally doesn't make it fake. Being fake makes it fake."

Again, you are correct, but you are concentrating on the correct and literal meaning of the word "fake" rather then the popular consensus of the meaning(s) of the entire phrase "fake new" and how it is being used currently. It's a bit like pointing out the origins of the word decimate and ignoring the fact it's not been used in its original meaning for generations.

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John Brown (no body)

Sorry I disagree. "Fake(news) still means fake. All that has changed is the frequency that it is used to undermine honest truth by mislabelling it. This is not Orwell's Newspeak however chilling it may be. The meaning remains the same. The blatancy and frequency in which it is misused has changed, that's all.

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Re: "decried as 'fake news' because it's written by well known climate 'deniers'"

Ah, but burning witches doesn't contribute to climate change.

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"something in the media that I disagree with"

No, that's just the Trump version.

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Re: And so began the climate wars..

not as bad as we thought? Have you seen the latest predictions about the melt rate of the Antarctic ice?

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Re: And so began the climate wars..

"Nope, based on assumptions wrt the potential effects of elevated CO2. Which is the crux of the ECS debate"

It's not an assumption that increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere will increase the temperature. It's a scientific fact that is not disputed by a single recognised scientific institution on the planet. The first paper on CO2 increases causing global warming was published in 1896.

"ie if CO2=X then how much warming?""

Like the IPCCs climate projections of CO2 level over time versus temperature you mean? That higher atmospheric CO2 will heat the planet is not in any scientific doubt whatsoever.

"Climate scientists use a 30yr interval to describe climates"

No they don't. There is no fixed interval.

Things have change in the decade since your article was published. For an accurate comparison, see:

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2018/jun/25/30-years-later-deniers-are-still-lying-about-hansens-amazing-global-warming-prediction

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FFS

"In an age of 'fake news' and too much clutter, we want to offer readers high-quality, fact-based news content," said WebSeed CEO Mike Texas – in the actual press release from Donuts announcing the sale of the gTLD.

Liar.

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Re: FFS

He's probably got a PhD in BS and was awarded a golden shovel at graduation.

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Re: FFS

I read that as "golden shower" for a few seconds - but perhaps he was.

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Re: FFS

PhD meaning Piled high & Deep I presume.

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Re: PhD

Can also mean

"Public House Drunkard"

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Re: PhD

"Public House Drunkard"

That's extremely apt for any actual philosopher. Doing it in an office has a nasty tendency for the philosopher to go insane.

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good.news

Describing itself as "the global leader in high-quality, new top-level Internet domains," Donuts announced the sale of science.news

Aaaah, I remember the days, when buying onlinenaturalfertiliser.com was going to make you a zillionaire selling shit over the web. Nice of them to enable another re-run of that sure fire way to glory. Nothing screams "global leader", "high quality" and "top level" more than a company called Donuts.

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gTLDs

Fortunately, there are quite a lot of people (including myself) who regard any gTLD domain name to be automatically suspect to begin with.

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Thumb Up

Re: gTLDs

****** WE HAVE A WINNER ******

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Re: gTLDs

I note that Donuts itself uses donuts.domain - it appears that they don't actually own donuts.com. That must hurt.

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Anonymous Coward

is there a flatearth.news or even a homeopathy.news? We need good websites that don't let science, facts and evidence get in the way. Remember even idiots need places to go on the internet other than Facebook.

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I can't for the life of me figure out why you got downvoted at all. There must be something wrong with my brain. Maybe I can exchange it for one used by a flat-earther homeopath, because they sure as fuck aren't using it.

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Perhaps AC got down voted for his fake news viewpoint. While flat earth is fairly easy to disprove, homeopathy - the traditional system of medicine in many parts of Asia for thousands of years - cannot be dismissed so easily. The scientific approach would be for AC to propose his theory, construct and conduct a series of tests and observations to prove his theory and then publish the results to let others pick over the method and the conclusions. One wrong step and his theory is disproved and we all go back to a state of healthy skepticism of all such claims - for and against.

Simply claiming as AC implies that homeopathy is idiotic with no supporting evidence is mere belief or prejudice - what we might call fake news - and worthy of many down votes.

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FAIL

WTF!!

homeopathy - the traditional system of medicine in many parts of Asia for thousands of years - cannot be dismissed so easily.

It most certainly can be dismissed easily. Homeopathy flies in the face of all we know about chemistry and dose-response biology. The idea that diluting a substance to the point where it is vanishingly unlikely that even a single molecule remains yet the greater the dilution the greater the potency of the cure is utter stupidity. You must also not be aware that homeopathy has been tested many times, and that the only near-positive results come from small, badly designed trials and not from large, well designed ones. No amount of claiming that it is 'the wisdom of the ancients', as you fallaciously argue, can overcome that. Shame on you.

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FAIL

Re: WTF!!

I forgot to add that you're also wrong about it being a Chinese system of medicine. Homeopathy was invented by a German doctor in 1802. I think you must be confusing it with acupuncture, the other great steaming pile of bullshit which infests the brains of far too many people around the world.

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Headmaster

Re: WTF!!

Homeopathy was invented by a German doctor in 1802.

s/doctor/quack/

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Re: WTF!!

Rich 11

Well said. One of the weapons of the fake news/Anti-vaxxers/etc. is to say that a 100% negative hasn't been proved. But of course it never can be, let alone to their loony "standards". Because no negative ever can be proved 100%. I can't 100% prove that there aren't fairies at the bottom of my garden, or that there isn't a conspiracy of lizards running the world.

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Homœopathy != herbal medicine, and is not "the traditional system of medicine in many parts of Asia for thousands of years". Homœopathic remedies are no different to, and no more effective than placebos.

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Coffee/keyboard

Fake news

The UK Guardian running fake news on "Mobile phones cause cancer". A cherry picked study of rat tissues rather than large surveys of humans with real phones.

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2018/jul/14/mobile-phones-cancer-inconvenient-truths

A distortion of research on the subject.

Though the BBC has been dreadful for science reporting for years.

WiFi sensitivity!

Facebook only demoting rather than removing PROVEN fake news.

It's curious that some Victorians wanting to attack the Church of England invented the Mediaeval Flat Earth myth. Historically most people didn't think about such things, but those that did usually figured out the Earth's diameter not too badly.

Though the Victorians didn't invent Fake News. The Ancient Greeks worried about it and knew it was a problem. The Fake news is so often more attractive, compelling, fun etc than the real stuff. Sometimes seems more likely that the real news!

Is the UK really stockpiling processed foods, medicine and for NI, electricity generators? I've given up trying to decide on some of it.

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Re: Fake news

Yes, weapon number two* of the anti-science conspiracy theorists is to undermine the strength of the science by equating it with other trivial irrelevant or even non-existent material (Darwin is just a theory). The BBC is terrible for this. They'll, say, bring a respected scientist into the studio but then square him/her off with a known climate denying spokesman with no scientific background. as if that person has equal credentials.

*Version 2b is to undermine the science by focussing on minor or non-substantive variations to argue that the scientist aren't agreed.

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Re: WTF!!

The unlikelihood of there being any active ingredient present is a feature, not a bug. The entire enterprise is premised on the idea that water is magic and has a memory of compounds it has been in contact with.

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Re: WTF!!

"Homeopathy was invented by a German doctor in 1802.

s/doctor/quack/"

That's a little unfair... he developed a therapy set that effectively did nothing, when doing nothing was often more beneficial than applying the medical treatments of the time...Chuck in the placebo effect and for 1802 you have what appears to be a superior system of medicine.

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Re: WTF!!

>s/doctor/quack/

In 1802, there wasn't much of a distinction between the two.

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Re: WTF!!

"The entire enterprise is premised on the idea that water is magic and has a memory of compounds it has been in contact with."

It's more magic than that. It relies on water have a memory of *some* of the compounds it has been in contact with (i.e. the ones that homeopaths are charging for) and no memory at all of all the others.

Otherwise every glass of water on the planet would contain a homeopathic remedy for every ailment known to medicine, at really powerfully diluted concentrations, for free.

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Re: WTF!!

Otherwise every glass of water on the planet would contain a homeopathic remedy for every ailment known to medicine, at really powerfully diluted concentrations, for free.

Unless that glass was filled from a tap in my previous apartment. The water from which smelled more heavily of chlorine than did the swimming pool.

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Re: WTF!!

the idea that water is magic and has a memory of compounds it has been in contact with.

About ten or twelve years ago I was wandering aimlessly in the area around Russell Square on one of those very rare days in my life when I was all museumed out. I found myself on a street running alongside the Royal London Homeopathic Hospital and, heeding the call of nature, nipped down an alleyway for a slash. I like to think that every subsequent shower of rain that strikes the back of that building potentises my contempt for the idiocy which is homeopathy.

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Anonymous Coward

is there a flatearth.news or even a homeopathy.news?

There is a homeopathy.news, but if you read more than a byte of it, it doesn't work.

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Nothing worthwhile in the post-2012 gTLDs anyway

I've been running my own pseudo-root DNS server just so I can block so much of this bullshit. It grabs the root.zone file off the internic ftp site once a week, then goes into the downloaded file, and rips out every TLD longer than 3 characters, most of the 3-letter ones, and a selection of the two-letter ones. Absolutely no regrets.

I even block my employer's gTLD since it does nothing but redirect to the appropriate sub-domain of the .com page (really, all it is is a bunch of CNAME records for each of the subdomains with an @ CNAME to point to www.company.com).

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Re: Nothing worthwhile in the post-2012 gTLDs anyway

You don't need to delete the gTLD, you need to point them to a mostly useless zone file that provides the proper info for the anti-spam filters. That zone file should also point www.@ to a local web site that says "computer says no" while counting the people trying to visit while providing reports of people most likely to click where they shouldn't.

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Re: Nothing worthwhile in the post-2012 gTLDs anyway

I've been thinking about updating it to do stuff like what you recommend; right now its just a simple shell script that I wrote back in later 2012 and isn't much more than a 'curl', a dozen 'sed' lines, and the 'kill -HUP' to restart bind.

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Something in common

Climate change deniers, Trump supporters and Brexiteers all seem to have the same aversion to facts and in a Venn diagram they would likely be the intersection of all three sets.

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